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Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI759, JORDANIAN PERSPECTIVES ON LIBYAN REGIME AND THEIR BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP TRIPOLI 00000759 001.2 OF 002

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TRIPOLI759 2009-09-23 14:02 2011-01-31 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tripoli
VZCZCXRO2436
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHTRO #0759/01 2661407
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O R 231407Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5286
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5831
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000759 

NOFORN SIPDIS DEPT FOR NEA/MAG AND NEA/ELA. E.O. 12958: DECL: 9/23/2019 

TAGS: PREL ECON JO LY

SUBJECT: JORDANIAN PERSPECTIVES ON LIBYAN REGIME AND THEIR BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP TRIPOLI 00000759 001.2 OF 002 

CLASSIFIED BY: Gene A. Cretz, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.(C/NF) Summary: The Jordanian Embassy's DCM, Nash'at al-Hadid, shared with Pol/Econ Chief September 13 his personal opinions about Libyan regime dynamics and assessed the merits of Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi's potential successors - sons Saif al Islam and Muatassim al-Qadhafi. Hadid described Jordan's relationship with Libya as limited and fitful, in spite of the signing of several bilateral commercial agreements during Jordanian PM Dahabi's visit in June. Hadid confirmed that Jordan's King Abdullah stopped in Tripoli for a few hours September 1 to attend the celebration Qadhafi's 40th anniversary in power, traveling en route to Morocco for a visit to Saudi Prince Sultan. End Summary.

JORDANIAN VIEWS ON REGIME DYNAMICS

2.(C/NF) During a September 13 meeting with Pol/Econ Chief, Embassy of Jordan's DCM, Nash'at al-Hadid, characterized the Libyan regime as opaque and complicated. He shared his personal opinion that Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi is the ultimate decision maker in Libya. He observed that while foreign governments attempt to influence Qadhafi's decisions through MFA and other contacts - naming Protocol Chief and Qadhafi confidante Nuri al-Mismari in particular - the diplomatic community must recognize that the Leader is unpredictable and will ultimately do whatever he wants.

3.(C/NF) Addressing local rumors about succession, Hadid confided that the Jordanians viewed Qadhafi's second eldest son, Saif al Islam al-Qadhafi, as his most likely successor. Hadid characterized Saif al Islam as open minded and reformist. Hadid saw Saif's involvement in repatriating convicted Pan Am 103 bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi as a move to gain popularity after months of remaining outside of the political limelight. He viewed Qadhafi's subsequent meeting with Megrahi as a father's move to push back on his son's overstepping.

4.(C/NF) By contrast, Hadid viewed Qadhafi's other potential successor, son Muatassim Bilal al-Qadhafi, as occupying a more powerful position than Saif. He said that Muatassim's official position as National Security Advisor gave him a stronger platform from which to jockey for succession. Hadid saw Muatassim as being more strongly supported by Libya's old guard regime stalwarts than Saif, although Hadid also characterized Muatassim as gradually liberalizing his public views on opening Libya to Western partnerships.

JORDAN-LIBYAN RELATIONS

5.(C/NF) Hadid described Jordan's relationship as fitful and complicated. He recalled the brief severing of ties after the 1986 burning of Jordan's embassy in Tripoli and stated that while the current bilateral relationship was limited, it was better than it had been in the past and on the right track. [Note: According to Hadid, the Jordanian Embassy was torched after the U.S. bombing of Libya in 1986 because King Hussein was traveling in the United States at the time of the operation. The embassy was rebuilt approximately six years later. End Note.] Hadid said that Jordan and Libya differed on political issues - namely, Libya's stance on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and a two-state solution - but their commercial relationship was growing. Hadid stated that several bilateral commercial agreements were signed in June during PM Nader Dahabi's visit to Tripoli, however the Jordanians have not been impressed by the pace of Libya's actions to implement the agreements. According to the agreements, Hadid explained, the Government of Libya was supposed to provide more commercial opportunities for Jordanians - in construction, engineering, and consulting - but those opportunities have been slow in coming. He complained about the GOL's tendency (and that of Qadhafi in particular) to sign agreements for the sake of announcing them publicly rather than a commitment to the principles and stipulations of those agreements. Nevertheless, Jordanians enjoy limited commercial investment and employment opportunities in Libya. Hadid said that while low salaries in the service sector turn Jordanians away from employment opportunities in Libya, a relatively small number of Jordanians work in healthcare and education.

KING ABDULLAH'S SHORT VISIT

6.(C/NF) Regarding King Abdullah's attendance at Qadhafi's 40th anniversary events in celebration of the latter's 1969 coup, Hadid explained that the Jordanian monarch only stayed in Tripoli for a few hours on September 1. He arrived around 1700 local time and left before the Iftar meal was served (around 2000-2100 local time). Hadid said that King Abdullah stopped in Tripoli on his way to Morocco to visit Saudi Prince Sultan. TRIPOLI 00000759 002.2 OF 002 Hadid confirmed that the King did not have a private bilateral meeting with Qadhafi.

7.(C/NF) Comment: Jordan is one of a handful of influential Middle Eastern countries that enjoys a substantive relationship with Libya. While the two countries differ on high-profile political issues, namely Middle East peace, Jordan's commercial interests in Libya may be able to establish a foundation for expanded bilateral political engagement. King Abdullah's short stop in Tripoli may have been intended to remind Qadhafi of his commercial commitments to Jordan and will likely further ingratiate Jordan with the Libyan Leader. Jordan's views on regime dynamics and succession agree with those expressed by many Western diplomats in Tripoli. End Comment. CRETZ